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Commentary on “Linking the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test (PEDI-CAT) to the International Classification of Function”

Fragala-Pinkham, Maria PT, DPT, MS; Fehlner, Andrew

Author Information
Pediatric Physical Therapy: April 2018 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 118
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000501
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“How can I apply this information?”

The Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test (PEDI-CAT) is a pediatric outcome measure using item response theory and computer-adaptive testing to evaluate typical performance of infants, children, and youth in the domains of Daily Activities, Mobility, Social/Cognitive, and Responsibility. These investigators examined the 276 items of the PEDI-CAT to determine whether items are representative of the Activity and Participation level of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). This study supports content validity of the measure. The PEDI-CAT was intended to measure typical functional performance of a child in natural settings and this was confirmed with this study. Because the PEDI-CAT uses a CAT platform, a limited number of items are administered; however, therapists can be confident in coverage of the Activity and Participation components because all items were linked to the Activity and Participation ICF codes.

Parent comments: As a parent of a child with a physical disability, I am pleased that pediatric physical therapists are interested in using and validating objective measurement tools that focus on everyday activities that children experience in life. Since the PEDI-CAT is often completed by parents, the concept of Activity and Participation can be confidently used to explain the intent of the PEDI-CAT and provide instructions to parent or other caregiver respondents.

“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”

Pediatric physical therapists require valid, reliable, and responsive measures in clinical practice and research to objectively document abilities, plan interventions, and document changes after interventions for children with disabilities. This study supports the content validity of the PEDI-CAT; however, additional research on psychometric properties such as diagnosis- and setting-specific validity and responsiveness is needed. Therapists are encouraged to review the manual to best understand the purpose and administration procedures.

Parent comments: Although this article presents useful information, reliance on dense physical therapy jargon and technical information makes it difficult for a layperson to understand.

Maria Fragala-Pinkham, PT, DPT, MS
Franciscan Children's Hospital
Brighton, Massachusetts
Andrew Fehlner
Parent of a child with hemiplegic cerebral palsy
Watertown, Massachusetts

© 2018 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association